Saturday, December 3, 2022

Dan Hooker Recalls “Let It Snap” Mindset Ahead Of Claudio Puelles Bout

UFC lightweight Dan Hooker has recalled when he was willing to “let it snap” ahead of his showdown with submission specialist Claudio Puelles.

Having failed to re-find form at featherweight earlier this year, Hooker has re-committed to the 155-pound division, where he’ll look to notch his first win since last September when he returns to action tonight at UFC 281.

While he had a strong start at lightweight, going 7-1 across his first eight fights and entering the divisional top five, “The Hangman” has since gone 1-3.

After back-to-back losses to Dustin Poirier and Michael Chandler, Hooker briefly returned to the win column against the unranked Nasrat Haqpqrast before falling to a quick submission defeat at the hands of now-champion Islam Makhachev.

Now, the New Zealander will look to bounce back inside Madison Square Garden tonight by halting the charge of Claudio Puelles.

Since a defeat in the final of The Ultimate Fighter Latin America 3, Puelles has been in fine form, winning five straight inside the Octagon. That streak features three victories by way of his patented kneebar, including against Chris Gruetzemacher and Clay Guida in his last two outings.

With that in mind, Hooker will be well aware of where his opponent’s main threat can be found tonight. But given the lightweight veteran’s history, the Peruvian would do well to secure a tap…

Hooker’s Dealt With Leglocks Before

During a recent interview with David Adesanya on the FREESTYLEBENDER YouTube channel, Dan Hooker was asked whether he sees similarities between his UFC 281 matchup and his promotional debut in 2014.

At UFC Fight Night: Te Huna vs. Marquardt, Hooker entered the Octagon for the first time, facing Britain’s Ian Entwistle. Like Puelles, “The Locksmith” is known for his grappling, and had submitted four opponents in a row prior to facing “The Hangman.”

While he’d made peace with the fact he’d tap should Entwistle lock in a heel hook, Hooker’s body wouldn’t let him do so when the moment came. Instead, the New Zealander followed a “let it snap” mindset.

“A little bit (similar). I would say the same — ’cause I remember that kid. I was 24 years old at the time, making my debut. You would absolutely have to kill that kid to get him outta there,” Hooker said. “He dropped down for that heel hook — he caught my heel. I heard my knee pop like four or five times.

“I was trying to convince myself going into the fight, this was a conversation I had with my inner self, ‘If you get caught in a heel hook, just tap, it’s not the biggest deal.’ Trying to convince myself. He falls down with the heel hook, I’m not slipping out, he starts cranking it on, my knee pops four or five times… I remember thinking in my head, ‘F*ck it, let it snap.’ I was like, ‘Let it snap and I’mma pull it out and hit him with it.’ There was no way I was tapping to that in my home city, on my UFC debut.”

But instead of having his leg snapped, Hooker turned defense into attack by raining down razor-sharp elbows, cutting Entwistle open en route to a TKO stoppage.

Dan Hooker & Ian Entwistle
Image Credit: UFC.com

It’s often said that the best way to defend against jiu-jitsu is to simply throw haymakers. As well as Thanh Le proving that when he brutally knocked Garry Tonon out as the American grabbed a leg at ONE: Lights Out, Ilia Topuria taught Ryan Hall that lesson at UFC 264 last July.

With Hooker’s track record, Puelles may well need to do some serious damage should he find himself in an advantageous position on the ground — or he may find himself bloody and beaten like Entwistle.

Who do you think will have their hand raised at UFC 281, Dan Hooker or Claudio Puelles?

Please provide transcription credit with a link to this article if you use any of these quotes.

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